England overpowered by Exiles
Steve McNamara's new-look England were no match for their experienced opponents as the Exiles cruised to a comfortable victory at Huddersfield to avenge last month's defeat.by NRL
Steve McNamara's new-look England were no match for their experienced opponents as the Exiles cruised to a comfortable victory at Huddersfield to avenge last month's defeat.
The Exiles, who retain the international origin trophy courtesy of victory in last year's inaugural one-off game, were dominant in all areas of the game, with the biggest threats coming from the oldest players on the field in 34-year-old Brett Hodgson and 38-year-old Steve Menzies.
Skipper Hodgson scored two of his side's six tries and kicked four goals for a personal haul of 16 points while winger Francis Meli also touched down twice.
It made for an inauspicious start to the post-Jamie Peacock era. McNamara's decision to rest four regulars, with three others unavailable, including the newly-retired Peacock, gave tonight's side an experimental look and few seized their big chance to impress.
England's new half-back pairing of Danny Brough and Matty Smith were outshone by the Exiles duo of Scott Dureau and Daniel Holdsworth.
At least Hull winger Tom Briscoe justified his recall with an industrious display while Huddersfield's Eorl Crabtree and Leroy Cudjoe caught the eye on their home ground, the former with his powerful bursts and offloads and Cudjoe with his telling defence.
The Exiles, also with nine survivors from the opening game, were quickly into their stride and opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Hodgson.
Right winger Joel Monaghan broke down the flank and the evergreen Menzies found his Catalan team-mate Dureau, who held onto the ball long enough for Hodgson to time his run to perfection.
Hodgson added the goal to make it 6-0 and the Exiles, looking the more dangerous side, went close to increasing their lead when Holdsworth was held up over the line in a terrific tackle from Briscoe.
England had not looked like scoring until centre Ryan Atkins accelerated away from dummy half 20 metres from his own line and held off all pursuers on a glorious sprint to the other end.
Brough's conversion levelled the scores but there was no surprise when the Exiles went back in front on 29 minutes with another breathtaking move.
Menzies made the break after taking Holdsworth's inside pass and the supporting Lincoln Withers got Dureau over for the Antipodeans' second try.
England showed more cohesion to score their second try, Brough dragging the Exiles defence out of position for Cudjoe to create the opening for Josh Charnley to cross at the corner.
The Exiles' response was swift and decisive, Monaghan charging over in the other corner after taking Hodgson's cut-out pass.
Hodgson's third conversion came back off an upright but the Exiles thoroughly deserved their 16-10 interval lead, which quickly became a 10-point advantage early in the second half.
Hodgson's vision once more exposed England's deficiencies out wide as left winger Meli took his cut-out pass to touch down despite a valiant tackle from Charnley.
Hodgson then dummied his way over for his second try and a third goal extended his side's lead to 26-10.
Brough's long pass got Briscoe over on 57 minutes but Meli grabbed his second try following a break by Holdsworth before England centre Carl Ablett sent Cudjoe over for a consolation score, to which Brough added his second goal.
Tries: Charnley (6) Atkins (23) Briscoe (58) Cudjoe (78)
Goals: Brough (23,78)
Team: Ratchford, Charnley, Cudjoe, Atkins, T.Briscoe, Smith, Brough, Crabtree, Roby, Carvell, Ablett, Wilkin, Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Taylor for Crabtree (22), Mossop for Carvell (19), Burrow for Ablett (25), Farrell for Jones-Buchanan (46).
Tries: Hodgson (4,55) Dureau (30) J.Monaghan (40) Meli (48,61)
Goals: Hodgson (4,30,55,61)
Team: Hodgson, J.Monaghan, Millard, Moon, Meli, Holdsworth, Dureau, Laffranchi, L'Estrange, Lauaki, Manu, Menzies, Soliola. Subs: K.Leuluai for Laffranchi (27), Withers for L'Estrange (28), Kaufusi for Lauaki (27), Mika for Manu (31).
Ref: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
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